Monday, September 29, 2008

Grimms' Fairy Tales

THIS is EXCELLENT! I haven't read any of these stories since... FOREVER (lets not go into numbers here ok...). They don’t read like the romanticized version from the Disney movies that our generation know and have grown to love but they’re equally as good. Each tale in the book is short and easy enough to read within five to ten minutes each.
I seem to have forgotten some of the tales that were familiar to me when I was younger (I know, I know... it’s sacrilegious to even admit such a thing). But reading this brought back so much memories of the stories mum use to read me. Some of my favourites from their collection: Rose Bud aka Sleeping Beauty, Jorinda and Jorindel and King Grisly-Beard to name a few.
Interestingly, the Grimm brothers are not the original authors of the tales but took it upon themselves to compile oral stories passed from one generation to another from German peasants and put them into writing. Efforts much appreciated by yours truly...

The stories are so simple to read that it's worth carrying the book around with you for quick reading while waiting for a friend (which often happens to me, my friends have no concept of time), the train, the bus... whatever.

Read it, loved it!

Tales featured in the book:
HANS in Luck- The Travelling Musician- The Golden Bird- The Fisherman and His Wife- The Tom-Tit and The Bear- The Twelve Dancing Princesses- Rose Bud- Tom Thumb- The Grateful Beast- Jorinda and Jorindel- The Wonderful Musician- The Queen Bee- The Dog and the Sparrow- Frederick and Catherine- The Three Children of Fortune- King Grisly- Beard- The Adventures of Chanticleer and Partlet- Snow Drop- The Elves and The Shoemaker- The Turnip- Old Sultan- The Lady and The Lion- The King of The Golden Mountain- The Golden Goose- Mrs. Fox- Hansel and Gretel- The Giant with the Three Golden Hairs- The Frog-Prince- The Fox and the Horse- Rumpel-Stilts-Kin- The Goose Girl- Faithful John- The Blue Light- Ashputtel- The Young Giant and the Tailor- The Crows and the Soldiers- Fee-Wit- Hans and His Wife Grettel- Cherry, On the Frog Bride- Mother Holle- The Water of Life- Peter The Goatherd- The Elpin-Grove- The Salad- The Nose- The Five Servants- Cat-Skin- The Robber- Bridegroom- The Three Sluggards- The Seven Ravens- Roland and May-Bird- The Mouse, the Bird and the Sausage- The Juniper Tree.

The Shack

From the book:
MACKENZIE Allen Philips’s youngest daughter, Missy, has been abducted during a family vacation and evidence that she may have been brutally murdered is found in an abandoned shack deep in the Oregon wilderness. Four years later, in the midst of his Great Sadness, Mack receives a suspicious note, apparently from God, inviting him back to that shack for the weekend.

Against his better judgement he arrives at the shack on a wintry afternoon and walks back into his darkest nightmare. What he finds there will change Mack’s life forever.
In a world where religion seems to grow increasingly irrelevant THE SHACK wrestles with the timeless question, “Where is God in a world so filled with unspeakable pain?” The answers Mack gets will astound you and perhaps transform you as much as it did him. You’ll want everyone you know to read this book!

My two cents worth:
WHERE can I start without sounding ignorant...??? In all honesty, The Shack was an impulse buy. I honestly thought that it would be something similar to Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones. A couple of chapters later, I realised this was not just a book about coming to terms with the grief of a horrible tragedy, it actually goes deeper into Christianity and its beliefs.
Sadly, there is no other way to say this except admit my ignorance (yes, I’m not as smart as I thought I was). In my pursuit to understand and grasp my own religion, I have failed to truly understand the belief of others.
What I liked about the book was that it was an eye opener in understanding Christian beliefs such as the Trinity and what is written in the Scriptures. I literally had to do some research so that I understood the book better. Reviewing as a person who knows little of Christianity, this book has been an educational experience. It didn’t have the profound effect on me that some had from reading the book (from reviews that I read on Amazon and Reading Social) but that’s probably because I am from a different faith altogether.
What I didn’t like about the book was that there was too much dialogue. However, the dialogue was necessary to get the message across through the conversations between Mack, Papa, Jesus and Sarayu. The last three characters representing The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit. Overall, the pacing for the book was slow but generally an ok read.
Theologians would probably fair better in understanding the content and the sentiments provided by the author as well as the knowledge to become better critics on the book. For me the book was just an educational process, not one that would end up on ‘my favourites’ book shelf.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Quote from Maya Angelou

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. Don’t complain.”

I got this quote off the first page from ‘A complaint free world-the 21-day challenge that will change your life’ by Will Bowen. The message was so strong and came across so clearly that I even contemplated on reading the book! Job done on the first page! Thanks Will.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Quote from Iris played by Kate Winslet in The Holiday

“You’re supposed to be the leading lady in your own life, for God’s sake!”

AS I was watching the movie mindlessly for the millionth time, this sentence suddenly jumped at me as Iris started realizing how stupid she’s been for letting her emotions over a useless twit take over her life. Her delivery of the message in the scene was profound as the realization of her stupidity was made clear in the middle of a restaurant. This is one of my favorite quotes as it reminds me that we shouldn’t be pushed and we have the power to create our own destiny no matter how difficult the challenge and the situation.

Quote from Randy Paush, The Last Lecture

"We cannot change the cards that we are dealt, just how we play the hand"

RANDY Paush is a great example of how attitude makes a difference. Despite being diagnosed with terminal cancer, he gave one of his best lectures on how to live life to the fullest. If a man can deal with something as severe as terminal illness in such a positive manner and lead a full and happy life, makes you wonder what the right attitude could do with trivial problems you face daily.

An Obsession with the Twilight Saga

About the Saga (from Wikipedia):
TWILIGHT is a series of vampire-based fantasy/romance from author Stephenie Meyer. It follows the adventures of Isabella “Bella” Swan, a teenager who moves to Forks, Washington and finds her life turned upside-down when she falls in love with a vampire named Edward Cullen.
This series is told primarily from Bella’s point of view, with the epilogue Eclipse and a portion of Breaking Dawn being told from the viewpoint of Jacob Black. Midnight Sun, if published, will be told from Edward Cullen’s point of view of Twilight.
My two cents worth:
WHO would have thought that a series for teeny boppers could get a grown woman so hooked? On my weekly visits to the bookstore, I kept noticing displays of the book at every nook and cranny. I got curious, did some research and found raving reviews on the series. Many have compared it to Harry Potter so naturally I had to get my hands on it to see if this was true. Ten days, 4 books and 2,444 pages later, I officially became an obsessed fan of the saga.
Whilst Myer’s style of writing falls way behind Rowling’s (this is my personal opinion), I still became addicted to the simple storyline revolving Edward and Bella’s relationship, the love triangle with Jacob and the world of vampires, shape shifters, half breeds and the supernatural.
Some parts of the book can be a bit slow; especially in New Moon where almost each chapter in the beginning describes Bella’s depressive state due to Edwards’s departure (I cheated and skipped a couple of pages on this one). I also think that the publishers should consider hiring better editors as there were grammatical errors that were blatantly obvious to even someone who is as inattentive as I am.

I LOVE Edward Cullen’s character in this book and took a liking to Alice and Emmet’s character as well. As much as I loved how the relationship developed between Bella and Edward, unfortunately Bella’s character annoyed me the most. She came across as an infatuated teenager obsessed with Edward and was constantly goo-goo-ga-gaing over him. (Hey we all fall in love but obsessing over a guy too much is going way overboard lah… no ones that perfect, not even a century old vampire!) Other than that she came across as selfish, reckless and dependent.
The storyline is not new but engaging never the less. Among all the four books I loved Eclipse the most because it was the most exciting. New Moon was my least favorite. Breaking Dawn was THE book that provided a happy ending for everyone and I was quite happy with the outcome.
Despite the fact that there were bad reviews to Meyer’s writing, the plotting and the moral messages that some viewed as negative, the Twilight series is one of the best books that I have read in years. I’m so glad I started reading it when all four of the books were out at bookstores already; I can’t imagine how other Twilight obsessed fans could have waited for each book to be released.

Now as the official fan of the Twilight Saga, I am impatiently waiting for the movie to be released in December. I just hope that they release the movie in Malaysia the same time they do in the States....

P.S I’m hoping Robert Pattison can carry Edward’s character well. Personally, I would have preferred Orlando Bloom. Oh well, we’ll see.

Ms Ulat Buku

MS Ulat Buku is a 30-something workaholic living in the midst of KL City. Her escape from reality comes in the form of books. If she had a choice, she’d live in a library and read 24/7, unfortunately trivial things like eating, drinking, sleeping and working gets in her way. It also doesn’t help that Ms Ulat Buku is a ...very...slow...reader...

She is far from perfect and believes that there is much to improve in herself. She is always open to criticism, although she will probably sulk for a week before the message gets across clearly. She loves reading self help/motivational books with the hope that she can be a better and happier human being, have a balanced lifestyle and achieve her dreams. Interestingly, she recently mentioned that she has been diligently practicing the law of attraction for the past year or so and she still hasn’t achieved anything she wished for...

Ms Ulat Buku has a love for 80’s music to the extent that her boyfriend thinks she still lives in the 80’s, though this is not something that you should fault her for! How can you blame someone who grew up in the best era ever?
She enjoys hanging out with her girlfriends and always imagined herself to be Carrie from Sex in the City but she can’t write for her life, can only afford Vincci at best and her fashion sense is questionable to many who know her.
Her main reason for starting up Ulat Buku in the City is to meet like- minded people and be able to exchange opinions on interests similar to hers. Her only wish is to expand and share knowledge and she also hopes to make more friends and add them onto her Facebook. (She made a wager with her boyfriend recently that she has more friends than he does...she is currently leading by one friend)

For those who stumbled upon Ulat Buku in the City, her only hope is that the readers will not be critical of her efforts as sulking over bad feedback will only stress her boyfriend out. Above all, Ms Ulat Buku wishes for world peace and that she strikes the lottery sometime soon.

For those who are wondering, Ulat Buku means Book Worm in her native language, Bahasa Malaysia.
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